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Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Saturday, 8 May 2010 14:08 UK

Mark Webber beats Sebastian Vettel to pole for Red Bull

Spanish Grand Prix
Venue: Barcelona Date: 7-9 May Sunday, race coverage: 1300 BST - BBC One, Red Button, Radio 5 live, online & mobiles
BBC coverage in detail

Mark Webber

Highlights - Spanish GP qualifying (UK users only)

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at the Circuit de Catalunya

Red Bull look poised to dominate Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after putting on a crushing performance in qualifying on Saturday.

Mark Webber led team-mate Sebastian Vettel to a Red Bull one-two on the grid, and they were nearly a second faster than their closest rival.

Lewis Hamilton was third for McLaren, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso splitting him from Jenson Button.

Mercedes's Michael Schumacher was sixth ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica.

Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi completed the top 10.

Mark Webber

Mark Webber not getting carried away after Spanish GP pole

All the teams brought updates to their car to Spain, but Red Bull's have proved more effective than anyone else's, making what was already the fastest car in F1 even quicker.

The only part of the Red Bull that has not been improved for this race is the front wing - every other aerodynamic surface has been changed.

The modifications, all but invisible to the naked eye, add up to a huge step forward.

Red Bull have been on pole position for all five races so far this season, but their advantage over the next car - which has generally been Alonso's - has been in the region of 0.2secs.

Here, it has quadrupled - Webber's fastest lap was one minute 19.995 seconds. That was 0.106secs ahead of Vettel and 0.834secs quicker than Hamilton.

McLaren appear to have leapfrogged Ferrari into second place after Hamilton snuck ahead of Alonso by slightly more than 0.1secs.

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Button said: "Red Bull will be very difficult to beat. Lewis was a 10th up on me, but nine-10ths behind the Red Bulls. It's a big margin. You'd expect them to walk away into the distance."

Hamilton added: "I don't think anyone expected them to be so fast this weekend. We knew they'd be quick but that is quite a decent gap.

"We will continue to focus on the areas we are weakest and see if we can close the gap."

Webber's pole was the Australian's second of the season, with Vettel taking the other three.

Webber reflected: "It's a good battle between us. Seb has a good record against me but if you look at the numbers it's always very close.

"Today I had two solid laps. It's nice to go into the second lap knowing you are already ahead and be able to build on that.

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren duo concede Red Bull advantage

"This pole is for the team. Both sides of the garage have had about four hours sleep in the last two nights. The improvement in the car is now translating into lap time.

"It's a sensational qualifying for both Seb and myself. [Team boss] Christian [Horner] said to me beforehand, you probably won't get to drive a car this quick around here again, so go and enjoy yourself and I did."

Vettel commented: "Congratulations to Mark, he was unbeatable. I had good laps, but it was just not enough.

"It looks comfortable but we know how quickly things can change so we have to stay focused. Maybe there is some rain, but it is a long race, so we'll see."

Alonso admitted that Ferrari appeared to have slipped behind McLaren but said he was not surprised.

"We expected more problems this weekend than normal for us," the Spaniard said.

"This is a circuit that requires the maximum downforce possible and at the moment that is one of the areas where we need to improve.

"Plus, for sure the step forward of performance we introduced here maybe was not as big as some other teams.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel surprised by Red Bull pace

"We knew that Red Bull introduced a big package here, and also McLaren have a big aero upgrade so it is not a surprise, to be honest.

"And to be fourth is not a big disaster. We lose one position compared to our position in the championship."

Schumacher put in his best qualifying performance of the season.

The German legend had the measure of team-mate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season following the introduction of changes to the Mercedes car.

It has a lengthened wheelbase and aerodynamic improvements aimed at improving pace, as well as giving Schumacher a car that better suits his driving style.

Outside the top teams, it was a disappointing day for Williams, with lead driver Rubens Barrichello failing to get out of the first session.

He was 18th fastest, but will start 17th because of a five-place penalty for Renault's Vitaly Petrov after his team changed his car's gearbox.

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher feeling more 'comfortable'

Williams had to abandon the updates they brought here after, in Barrichello's words, they "didn't work".

Lotus convincingly won the battle of the new teams, with Jarno Trulli in 19th nearly 0.7secs ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.

The fastest Virgin was Timo Glock's car, which has been modified to make the fuel tank long enough to finish races and also features aerodynamic updates.

But Glock, who was nip and tuck with the Lotuses in the first four races, was 1.4secs slower than Trulli here.

He was also less far ahead of team-mate Lucas di Grassi, who does not have the updated car, than usual.

"In general it is a bit disappointing we lost so much to Lotus," Glock said. "The team has to deliver more aero parts. There is no excuse for it."

Mark Webber

Replay - Webber's Spanish GP pole lap (UK users only)



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see also
Spanish GP Saturday photos
08 May 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull are untouchable - Button
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull duo fastest in Barcelona
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Spanish Grand Prix practice photos
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher not fazed by problems
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton hails salvaged title bid
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren target front row in Spain
05 May 10 |  Formula 1
Kubica wary of rivals' upgrades
04 May 10 |  Formula 1
Volcano delay hits Virgin's plans
03 May 10 |  Formula 1


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